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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Smoky Leek Soup

It's January cold. The sky is overcast, a very heavy rain storm on the way. Of course in Southern California, a day like today is an 'event' and that means we can indulge in an East Coast afternoon, with the fireplace going and a comfort-food lunch.

The Sunday farmers' market had baby leeks, so it's going to be Smoky Leek Soup and a corned beef sandwich with coleslaw--leftovers from yesterday's visit to Nat 'n Al's in Beverly Hills.

To put a bit more flavor into the soup, add sauteed smoked bacon and lightly brown the garlic and leeks.

Smoky Leek Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

1 bunch leeks, green stems and roots cut off and discarded
1 tablespoon finely chopped smoked bacon
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sweet butter (no salt)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
3 cups stock, duck or chicken
1/4 cup homemade croutons

Method

Wash the trimmed leeks in a bowl of water, letting them soak for 5 minutes to get rid of any grit. Heat a saucepan on a medium-low flame. Sauté the bacon until lightly browned. Cut the leeks into thin rounds. Add the leeks, olive oil, butter, and and garlic to the bacon.

Traditionally leeks are only supposed to be softened, but lightly browning them gets more sweetness into the soup and adds a layer of flavor.

Sauté for 10 minutes on a medium-low flame. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

Laddle the soup into 2 bowls and top with the croutons.

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